Brio's Smart Life:

Background: What is it?

Brio's Smart Life is a smart coaster that protects the users' drink when they need to step away. If the user tells the app they are away from their drink; they will need to put their coaster on their glass. Using the coaster's app, it tells the coaster to go into "Guard Mode," which will send an alert to the user if the coaster is moved. There are also other features that the app has included, such as the "Wingman," which allows the user to assign a contact to receive text messages, with their location, if Guard Mode alerts hazardous activity. It also has 24 LED Lights installed to allow the user to distinguish their drink from others. The coaster sells for USD 39.99..

Audience: Who uses it?

The audience of the product can be a wide variety of adults that wants to ease their mind about potential threats, specifically for young adults between the ages of 19–30. It seems more suitable for people who go out to bars and public places more often than preferring to stay at home. It also displays that it is for younger adults due to its flashy design and the fact that it uses slang terms such as "Wing Man."

Objective: Why do they use this product?

This product can be used by anyone who intends to go out a lot and want to ensure that no one is touching their drink. However, the user needs to be okay with holding around a flashy product since it is not designed to be nonchalant. It also can give friends, family, or significant others the peace of mind that they will be kept in the loop if something were to happen while the coaster is in Guard Mode.

Positioning: In what context is this product made useful?

This product is made useful for its compatibility between a smart object and an application. However, I believe that the idea was not as fine-tuned as it needed to be, and that is the reason that it is not a popular seller. It is also useful in giving the users and their friends about having a peace of mind for not being worried about leaving their drink unattended.

Visual Design & Interaction— Product

The design of the coaster is conveniently sized to fit into a purse or back-pocket and can fit over most standard glassware with rims under 4. However, I believe that because of the size of it, people will forget to take if they have enough drinks in them.

For the visual design of the product, there is also some back-lash as it displays a techno design with flashy LED lights. In an article written by The Verge, author Ashley Carman states that she thinks, "you won't be the coolest person in the bar with your own light-up coaster that you brought from home, even if that's what Brio wants you to think." Therefore, the aesthetics seem not to match the users' hope of being subtle in a situation like that.

Visual Design and Interaction

It is important to note that this application is no longer available to users, but it is still good to indicate areas of improvement that they could have implemented.

The visual design of the application uses a dull colour scheme that is composed of a lot of navy blues and whites. From this, it makes it look corporate, and does not fit with the techno vibe the viewer gets when they look at the coaster. As well, the implementation of icons do not fit with the colour scheme of the rest of the app. Overall, I believe that the application looks dated.

Barsys's Smart Coaster:

Background: What is it?

The Barsys's Smart Coaster turns their customers into instant mixologists. The user can look through over 2,000 cocktails through the Barsys app, place a glass on the smart coaster, and follow the step-by-step instructions. What makes the product unique is that when you add each ingredient, the colour of the coaster changes from green, yellow, to red to let you know when to stop pouring. This ensures that you have a perfect pour when making the cocktails.

Audience: Who uses it?